JULIA Donaldson's beloved tale lends itself perfectly to a festive show with an appearance from Father Christmas and lots of lovely wintry scenes.

But reproducing a stick family, a dog, various people, a swan and the big man in red himself among a host of other characters live on stage is no mean feat.

Three lively and engaging actors manage it with aplomb in Stick Man, which has just opened for Christmas at The Berry Theatre and runs until New Year's Eve.

For 60 wonderful minutes the trio of zany and likeable actors lead us through the celebrated children's story with a variety of songs and dances, even managing to cleverly recreate the sea, the river and a snowstorm.

An actor plays Stick Man holding a small Stick Man figure. It's a technique which I found a little unsettling at first, but it soon becomes very convincing and works well.

There's also a vast array of musical and instruments and percussion items, which soundtrack all the action on stage.

What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man. A dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree?

A particular highlight was the beach scene where a beach ball was hurled into the audience and kept in the air by dozens of young helpers and inflatable rubber rings and umbrellas were used as impressive props and a huge sandcastle built out of nowhere.

Stick Man is a favourite bedtime book in our house, much loved by both my five and a half year old daughter Poppy and her sister Alice, aged nearly two.

They adore the TV version and now the stage adaptation has become a firm favourite too, reigniting their little imaginations for this beautiful tale.

The special 'snuggle' shows at 5.30pm where pyjamas are positively encouraged are a particular treat for youngsters.